Open Hearts Open Borders (OHOB) are sending a fifth container of aid to Syrian refugees who have made their way to camps in Lesvos in Greece. The 40-foot container will arrive at QStore Business Centre in Saltash, Cornwall at 11.30am on 21st October and leave three hours later, filled with clothing, food, baby items, toiletries, buggies and children’s soft toys and bikes donated by communities in the south west.
Faraday Fearnside, Founder and Director of OHOB says it’s essential to send this aid to Greece ahead of the winter weather.
‘The huge increase in arrivals has led to serious overcrowding and a huge deterioration in already poor living conditions for those on the island, particularly in the Moria where the majority of the refugees live. This is particularly worrying with the cold winter weather ahead. Thousands are living in Lesvos in tents not suitable for the coming winter. Information given by the Legal Centre in Lesvos reports that between 1 to 26 September 2017, 2,238 people risked their lives crossing the Mytilene Strait from Turkey to Lesvos. Authorities have given estimates that the number of new registrations is over 200 people per day, which is the highest since March 2016.
There is a desperate need for blankets and sleeping bags at the moment, I have been informed blankets are being rationed to one per person regardless of whether they are sleeping in a cheap summer tent or on a concrete floor, this includes children, the elderly and pregnant women. Last year at least five people died due to the cold and conditions at the Moria camp, and very recently a 4-year-old child has died.’
Faraday says this container, like the others before will be filled with love and support from all of those who have contributed to the collection.
‘This container of aid is a result of the wonderful and generous donations and efforts of so many groups and individuals across the south west.
From those who have donated items so generously, to the volunteers who have clocked up the miles travelling the across the region collecting donations, from as far as Portsmouth, to the many hours put in at the storage facility sorting and boxing the donations ready to fill the container.
It really is amazing to see the passion and drive to make a difference, however small, to someone’s life and wellbeing uniting people across the region. It’s very hard to know how you can help when we live our comfortable lives here in the UK, but it’s really important to recognise that the little things all add up and here we are sending a fifth container of aid from our communities to those who really need it.
Thank you to everyone who has made this possible and been so generous with both their time and their giving.’
The groups include; Exeter City of Sanctuary, Beyond Borders in Totnes, Wadebridge Refugee Aid Project, Launceston Refugee Support, Ottery Refugee Response, Bude Refugee Support. The Happy Apple grocery stores in Torquay and Totnes continue to collect for the containers. Mount Kelly school in Tavistock have supported our cause in the last academic year through collecting items and fundraising. Dartington Hall have kindly donated some space for people to drop off items and various individuals across the south west have donated their homes and front porches as drop off points.
QStore Business Centre (formerly Quickstore) in Saltash continues to donate storage space for the donations and for container loading. Armadillo Storage – (formerly Quicktstore) also donate space at their facilities in Plymouth, Torquay and Exeter.
Those wanting to donate items for this container can drop them to the Saltash Quickstore on 14th October between 10am – 2pm. We are collecting toiletries for men, women and children, food items suitable for vegetarians to include: dried food (nuts rice, pasta, flour) UHT milk, dried fruits, instant porridge oats, tinned food (beans veg, chick peas, soup) Baby items include nappies, wipes and baby milk and formula food. We are also currently appealing for blankets and sleeping bags.
For more information on where the drop off points are visit the Open Hearts Open Borders Facebook page; Open Hearts Open Borders – Refugee Aid or email firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow